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Polites, one of Priam's sons, fled fast
along the corridors, through thronging foes
and a thick rain of spears. Wildly he gazed
across the desolate halls, wounded to death.
Fierce Pyrrhus followed after, pressing hard
with mortal stroke, and now his hand and spear
were close upon:— when the lost youth leaped forth
into his father's sight, and prostrate there
lay dying, while his life-blood ebbed away.
Then Priam, though on all sides death was nigh,
quit not the strife, nor from loud wrath refrained:
“Thy crime and impious outrage, may the gods
(if Heaven to mortals render debt and due)
justly reward and worthy honors pay!
My own son's murder thou hast made me see,
blood and pollution impiously throwing
upon a father's head. Not such was he,
not such, Achilles, thy pretended sire,
when Priam was his foe. With flush of shame
he nobly listened to a suppliant's plea
in honor made. He rendered to the tomb
my Hector's body pale, and me did send
back to my throne a king.” With this proud word
the aged warrior hurled with nerveless arm
his ineffectual spear, which hoarsely rang
rebounding on the brazen shield, and hung
piercing the midmost boss,- but all in vain.
Then Pyrrhus: “Take these tidings, and convey
message to my father, Peleus' son!
tell him my naughty deeds! Be sure and say
how Neoptolemus hath shamed his sires.
Now die!” With this, he trailed before the shrines
the trembling King, whose feet slipped in the stream
of his son's blood. Then Pyrrhus' left hand clutched
the tresses old and gray; a glittering sword
his right hand lifted high, and buried it
far as the hilt in that defenceless heart.
So Priam's story ceased. Such final doom
fell on him, while his dying eyes surveyed
Troy burning, and her altars overthrown,
though once of many an orient land and tribe
the boasted lord. In huge dismemberment
his severed trunk lies tombless on the shore,
the head from shoulder torn, the corpse unknown.
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